Melbourne Parish Offers Blessings of Same-Sex Marriage

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update 18 September 2019: St John’s Toorak has removed both the offer of blessings for same-sex marriages and their statement of “deep regret” from their website’s “Weddings FAQ” page. Whether the parish is still offering such blessings is unclear. The quote below of the original offer of such blessings includes a link to a screen grab of the original.

In another act of defiance against the Anglican Church of Australia’s doctrine of marriage, a Melbourne parish is openly offering blessings of same-sex marriages by their clergy.

St John’s Toorak, known as the “Wedding Church” because of the large number of weddings held there, has the following statement on it’s website’s “Weddings FAQ” page:

We deeply regret that at the present time, it is not legally possible for Anglican clergy to conduct marriage services for couples of the same sex. We look forward to the day when we will be able to do so. Until this legal problem is addressed however, the clergy of St. John’s would be pleased to welcome any couple, including couples of the same sex, to have a service for the blessing of their marriage, including a renewal of vows, following a legal marriage conducted by a celebrant licensed to do so. Please contact the clergy for further information.

screen grab

Because of its extensive ministry of weddings, St John’s is used as a training site for deacons in their first year after ordination. They spend a morning there learning about how to conduct such services including a session on “The purpose and theology of the marriage service” and then move on to discussing topics relevant to the topic including “Current Issues in Marriage Ministry” followed by questions. The most recent such training was in August 2019.

The vicar of St John’s, Revd Dr Peter French, serves on Archbishop in Council. suggests that a good question for the next training session there would be “how is the blessing of same-sex marriages consistent with the Anglican Church of Australia’s theology and doctrine of marriage”?

image: St John’s, Toorak

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This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Gerber Legal

    A parish in Canberra Goulburn Diocese conducted a “blessing” of a same-gender “marriage” conducted in Britosh Embassy decades ago aka prayers for 2 friends but with the full-on related “wedding” paraphenalia

  2. Alfred Sparkes

    The blessing of same-sex marriages may be inconsistent with the Anglican Church of Australia’s theology and doctrine of marriage, but it is consistent with the fundamental strategic aim of the Anglican Church in Australia to remain relevant and worthy of goodwill from the significant secular majority. You won’t be able to have both. Reform and flourish.

    1. Richard

      That doesn’t make sense if the Anglican Church is to be faithful to Christ (see John 15:18). Churches that compromise and cave-in will diminish.

      1. Alfred Sparkes

        I guess that depends on what you regard as being Faithful to Christ.

        There is one dogmatic view of that which will only make our Church more irrelevant.

        1. Richard

          Faithful to Christ’s teaching on marriage (Matt 19:4-6), and not some recent fabrication that’s a parody of it.

          1. Alfred Sparkes

            Those who can truly accept that verse as Christ’s definitive teaching on marriage, and as God’s will, should accept it.

            But in doing so, accept that in presenting that view of God to the wider community, they are condemning our Church to irrelevance.

            1. Richard

              We are answerable to God, and not some fickle societal trend that the wider community demands affirmation of….

              1. Alfred Sparkes

                Do you truly believe that Christ’s words have been unaltered by man through time in an effort to attain/retain relevance ?

            2. bcwearne

              I would respectfully suggest that you Go and look at the ABS Survey figures. There were 30.53% of the total population who voted “No” in the survey which was NOT a plebiscite; a signifcant 20.5% did not participate in the survey. And think about this: how many of the 48.97% “YES” (61% of the 79.5% who voted) will feel uneasy when they actually go to the Marriage Act and note note how their “Yes” became the grounds for the intolerant ecclipse by an ideologically-driven Parliament that air-brushed mention of husband-wife marriage from the Marriage Act? Ask George Brandis about his amendment at the time that was scuttled. Moreover, social survey principles, (are you listening Professor?), strictly affirm that policy based on one answer to one YES/NO question must always be highly speculative if not “unsafe” as to what the population, “the wider community” actually believe.

    2. Brian Fyffe

      We Anglicans are not here to be “relevant” but to be faithful witnesses to Biblical truths about human sexuality and relationships, and to proclaim the good news of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. That makes us relevant to meeting the deepest needs of the lost community we live in.

  3. Larry

    The groping after relevance that is assumed in some of the preceding comments can equally be interpreted as pandering to those who patently reject Christ’s truth. The highest “relevance” we aspire to is that which our LORD grants, based fully and squarely on articulation and embrace of His truth. Let Him be true, and every other a liar …

  4. Mark

    The Word of God should not be watered down just to appease current trends in Society.
    We are to live ‘in’ the World, not ‘of’ the World.
    No wonder traditional churches have falling membership as they become more irrelevant and unbiblical.

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